Ten years ago in Citizens United, the Supreme Court slashed commonsense limits on campaign cash and set America’s campaign finance system on a path to overwhelming dominance by the ultra-wealthy few. But a bill passed by the House and pending in the Senate has the most promising answer: a public financing program that would amplify the voices of small donors, so the flood of megadonor money can be balanced by supercharged funding from regular people. Our new analysis shows that it would fundamentally transform campaign financing for the better.
Since Citizens United, the share of election funding from megadonors has mushroomed: in 2016, a few donors of more than $100,000 accounted for more than half of all election spending, dwarfing the money given by millions of small donors. Even with the boom in grassroots engagement and small donations in 2018, small donors were overshadowed by megadonors. Without reform, the gap is only going to widen.
The imbalance in campaign finance has made many Americans frustrated and cynical. But while it may be easy to see the current state of money in politics as inevitable, the truth is powerful fixes are available to restore balance and empower everyday people.
Read the full perspective here.